Having moved to Cumbria for the breathtaking landscapes, we decided that we couldn’t, actually, just hole up and hibernate the winter away. So yesterday we decided to face the elements and headed to Ennerdale for an explore.
The day started cold, and crisp – a thick blanket of frost covered the ground and surrounding fields, but undeterred we wrapped up warm, made a picnic, filled flasks with coffee and hot chocolate (the promise of which is the only sure way to make the kids walk in the cold) and set out on our adventure.
Although we’ve spent a lot of time in the Lakes, the majority of that time has been spent in the northern fells, and so we’d never been to Ennerdale before. I’d seen someone’s recommendation on Twitter, accompanied with glorious pictures of the woods in their autumn colours and thought “I’ll have some of that”.
We got to Bowness Knott carpark on the northern side of the lake late morning. As soon as we were out of the car the girl was asking when it’d be time for the picnic, treats were promised further on to get her going, and we used them as a, metaphorical, carrot for much of the rest of the walk. We had chosen to do the Smithy Beck route, a mere 2 miles and likely to only take an hour. Unless accompanied by two small children.
We set off, and it wasn’t just the cold that was breathtaking (actually, we were all pretty well togged up in our Christmas jumpers and multiple pairs of trousers so we were fairly snug), the fells could have been straight from the pages of Game of Thrones (still obsessed); the white of the snow, the black of the mountain, the grey of the sky. I’ve tried to capture it in pictures, but they never seem to do it justice. Let’s just say it was pretty awe-inspiring.
The walk also takes you through woods, there was definitely something of the enchanted woodland about it and you could easily imagine faeries and imps prancing just out of sight (if you’re the type to imagine such things).
We crossed a footbridge over a beck and attempted pooh sticks, whenever we play, we fail. I don’t know if the streams we attempt to play on are too rocky and too chock full of other forgotten pooh sticks, but they never come out the other side. So we all watched despondently for a few minutes before continuing on our way.
We had walked almost all of the way back to the car before we finally stopped for lunch and took advantage of the picnic benches on the shore of the lake, typically the wind then started blowing and so it was a little rushed, but the hot chocolate and coffee were more than welcome by this time.
Despite the cold and the delayed picnicking the kids both enjoyed the walk – over our last couple of outings we’ve found the ones they like more are the ones where we have no particular target in sight and can just pootle about. However the boy does have a cold at the minute, and so towards the end he was lagging a little and so needed a bit of a carry, which led to him cajoling his sister “Look, I’M being carried…” much whinging and whining ensued and we tried to teach the boy what “to gloat” means.
3 hours after setting off we returned to the car park, all a little colder, a little soggier as the rain had started to fall once the wind started (thankfully not snow) but, I’d like to think, a little happier too. Probably because we’d promised a trip to Keswick which would include hot chocolate and Christmas lights.
This is the latest in the year we’ve visited Keswick and so we’ve never been to see the Christmas lights there before. J and I both love Keswick, probably because it was the place we always stayed when on holiday pre-kids, so we have lots of happy memories there, and I was really excited about seeing the lights (to be honest, I’d been excited about it since we moved). It was still vaguely light when we arrived and so we had a hot chocolate before checking out the lights properly. The chocolate was lovely, rich and warming and put smiles on all of our faces (as well as a lot of chocolate on the kids) and we headed off to the lights with a spring in our step. To be honest the kids were probably less excited than I was but they loved the Christmas tree and stared up at it in wonder, and I did the same with the lights (I’m a simple, Christmas loving, soul). After a pub tea we headed home, and I think I can honestly say, this is one of the few days where barely any cross words were spoken (I can’t think of any days where none at all were) and we were all still pretty jolly by the end of it. It must be the magic of Christmas (yes I know, it’s still November).